Guideposts on the Way of Love

The Rt. Rev. Craig Loya

Guideposts on the Way of Love

Beloved in Christ,

Whenever I fly, I engage the spiritual discipline of preparing myself to be maximally inconvenienced. Flights often involve delays. People are anxious, in a hurry, and often rude and inconsiderate. If you approach a trip expecting everything to go smoothly, you will inevitably be frustrated and miserable. If you set out expecting that larger and smaller challenges will simply be part of it, you’ll be in a much better spiritual space to deal with it. 

Life in community is like that, too. Love is the very heart of God. To be made in God’s image is to be made by love and for love. But in a fallen world, love is unbelievably difficult to practice. Human communities are messy. Human relationships are complicated. If we approach our families, our jobs, or our churches expecting things to go smoothly and as planned, for people to be on their best behavior at all times, we are in for a life of frustration to be sure. 

Three guideposts I try to live by as a way of choosing love in the midst of life’s inevitable conflict are: 

  1. Assume good intentions, and repair damage when you can. I’ve seen a lot of conflict in my life. I have hurt others and been hurt by others. And, I have almost never met anyone who was trying to cause harm. Relationships go better when we spot one another the grace of assuming good intentions, and when we are quick to repair damage when we have caused it. 
  2. Speak to one another, not about one another. Love means caring for each other enough to tell each other the truth, and to be direct. 
  3. Hold others to rules one and two. Part of how we choose the way of love collectively is to invite one another to assume good intentions, repair damage when possible, and speak directly to each other. 

Following Jesus means expecting that conflict and disagreement are part of the deal. Love can only heal when we let its light shine on the real wounds we carry together. Ultimately, we aren’t the physicians. That’s God’s work. Our job is to get out of God’s way as best as we can, so our messy, broken, often fumbling efforts can help form us more perfectly in the image of God’s world-saving love. 

Grace and Peace,

The Right Reverend Craig Loya